Golden girl Derwin secures European crown
Kate Derwin, from Athlone, Co Westmeath, became only the fourth Irish rider in the 60-year history of the Junior European Showjumping Championships to win gold in a nail-biting finish at Zuidwolde, Holland.
And it was a story of grim determination, as the 17-year-old daughter of one of Ireland's best-known horse dealers, Jim Derwin, was deeply committed, having missed out on a podium placing at last year's event in Fontainebleau, France, where Carlow's Jason Foley came out on top and she had to settle for fourth place.
Derwin always looked threatening, lining up third in Wednesday's opening Speed class with her brilliant 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding AHG Whiterock Cruise Down, and jumping five clear rounds to take the title.
She joined Jack Ryan (Essenar High Hopes), Ciaran Nallon (Cloe GP Z) and Harry Allen (Dancing Queen Z) to take team bronze on Friday and was overnight leader as the individual two-round final got underway yesterday.
Last to go in the deciding round and with only the narrowest of leads, she could afford no mistake, but she kept a super-cool head to win through ahead of Spain's Maya De la Joya Fernandez Longoria in silver and Belgium's Thibeau Spits in bronze.
"My horse jumped phenomenal last year and this year he came out and gave it even more!" said Derwin, who proudly sang the Irish national anthem during the prize-giving ceremony.
Meanwhile, Darragh Kenny's run of form continued with victory with Balou du Reventon in Saturday's Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Chantilly, France.